It's not just the Presbyterian Church (USA) that is struggling with gays and those who support gays making inroads into leadership positions. The Episcopal Church, too, has gone down this road, and may be ahead of all the Christian denominations.
In 2003, the Episcopal Church (Anglican Communion) ordained openly gay Gene Robinson of New Hampshire as a bishop in the denomination. Understandably conservative Anglican leaders have threatened to lead their churches out of the denomination. The Anglican/Episcopal church has its big denominational meeting once every ten years, and they just had theirs this month outside of London.
For the "sake of unity," according to an Associated Press article by Rachel Zoll (The Pueblo Chieftain, July 12, 2008, pp. 5A, 7A), the head of the Church, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, barred Robinson and some other bishops from the assembly. Gene Robinson complied, although he went to London and made a noisy protest to remind everybody he was there. He also preached at a sympathetic church there.
According to an article by Jennifer Garza of the McClatchy-Tribune printed in The Pueblo Chieftain (July 19, 2008, pp. 5A, 7A), Bishop Robinson recently did an interview with The Sacramento Bee. When asked if he had any regrets, the Bishop answered, "I regret that this has been a very difficult thing for a lot people. But I am trying to do what I have felt God is calling me to do.
Robinson expressed frustration that he is not allowed to marry his partner of two-decades, Mark Andrew, in their home state of New Hampshire. When asked if they planned to marry during a visit to California, Robinson said, "We have no plans to get married there. We made the decision a long time ago to do what is allowed in New Hampshire. I feel it is easier for me to advocate for the next step toward full marriage rights as a person who has been denied those rights."
Mr. Robinson and Mr. Andrew are not denied any rights. They have every right to marry a woman just like every other man in New Hampshire.
When asked if he was concerned for his safety during his trip to London, Robinson indicated he'd have security, then said, "That's why we [he and Mark Andrew] had the civil union when we did--to protect him if something happens to me."
When asked what it has been like to be focal point in the church over this issue, Robinson reportedly answered:
"Most of the people don't know me and it's really about an issue, not me. I try not to take it personally. On the other hand, it's a constant source of difficulty. Nobody likes having bad karma coming their way, and that's why my prayer life is so important."
Should somebody tell this Bishop, this pretty high-up leader in the Episcopal church that "karma" is not a Christian notion?!
karma: "the force generated by a person's actions held in Hinduism and Buddhism to perpetuate transmigration and in its ethical consequences to determine the nature of the person's next existence" (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary Eleventh Edition, p. 681)
Someone should inform Bishop Robinson that, according to this belief, he just acknowledged it is his own actions are causing bad things to come his way.
But more importantly (because karma isn't what really happens in this universe), "karma" is an idea that comes from Hinduism and Buddhism! This is not a Christian idea nor a Christian reality.
But then it would seem Bishop Robinson could stand to learn a lot about true Christianity.
Shame on the Episcopal Church for putting such a man who knows so little about Christian truth in leadership over so many of their flocks. Shame on them for putting this man into leadership.
"I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil."
Romans 16:17-19 (NIV)
Coming in August:
Interview with author Kathi Macias about her newest book, Beyond Me: Living a You-First Life in a Me-First World